City Dwelling Nature Seekers
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City Dwelling Nature Seekers

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF
Band Americana Folk

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Music

Press


"Pittsburghers bring harmony-soaked music to Erie"

Singles looking for love post personal ads online and in newspapers. Nothing new there.

Michael McCormick tweaked the concept a bit. He named his band like a personal ad, hoping it might attract roots-music fans.

His group, City Dwelling Nature Seekers, is stirring up an Americana storm in Pittsburgh.

"I was trying to describe people that might like the music that I was writing," said McCormick. "So, I was like, 'Yeah, that's kind of what I'm into. I'm into going out camping and all that.' But we gotta work."

So he still lives near Pittsburgh, not in the mountains, a farm or some remote backwoods locale that would befit the band's music. Still, City Dwelling Nature Seekers are making headway in Steel City with well-crafted songs rich in warmth and atmosphere.

The instrumentation suggests a super-roots group: mandolin, acoustic (and electric) guitar, banjo, upright bass, steel guitar, accordion, keyboards, drums. But they're rootsy in an arty, rock and roll way, not a country hoedown one. Echoes of Wilco, the Silos, Avett Brothers, Jayhawks and early R.E.M. reverberate in their harmony-soaked, sumptuous songs.
- Erie Times


"Pittsburghers bring harmony-soaked music to Erie"

Singles looking for love post personal ads online and in newspapers. Nothing new there.

Michael McCormick tweaked the concept a bit. He named his band like a personal ad, hoping it might attract roots-music fans.

His group, City Dwelling Nature Seekers, is stirring up an Americana storm in Pittsburgh.

"I was trying to describe people that might like the music that I was writing," said McCormick. "So, I was like, 'Yeah, that's kind of what I'm into. I'm into going out camping and all that.' But we gotta work."

So he still lives near Pittsburgh, not in the mountains, a farm or some remote backwoods locale that would befit the band's music. Still, City Dwelling Nature Seekers are making headway in Steel City with well-crafted songs rich in warmth and atmosphere.

The instrumentation suggests a super-roots group: mandolin, acoustic (and electric) guitar, banjo, upright bass, steel guitar, accordion, keyboards, drums. But they're rootsy in an arty, rock and roll way, not a country hoedown one. Echoes of Wilco, the Silos, Avett Brothers, Jayhawks and early R.E.M. reverberate in their harmony-soaked, sumptuous songs.
- Erie Times


"Former DU 'Seekers' release album"

Recent reviews from Pittsburgh City Paper and the Post-Gazette compare the Seekers to some of their most-admired bands, including Neil Young and The Band. McCormick is flattered but doesn't want to follow step-for-step in their musical footsteps, wanting instead to create his own sound.

"We're definitely influenced by them," he said. "But if you can get into a spot where you're trying to emulate, say, The Band, you'll get stuck in a hole. I'd say we emulate them not so much in the writing aspect but the way we play together, that tight musicianship and the overall feel."

Their album release party, held at the Thunderbird Café in Lawrenceville on Aug. 20, was well-attended, with an audience of about 200 people. - The Duquesne Duke


"City Dwelling Nature Seekers bring unconventional sound to WPTS"

Though the band’s songs are now honed to a sharp edge, they were the product of adventurous jam sessions.

“There was a lot of experimentation with different instruments ... Chris Parker ended up playing a lot of different things,” Booth said. “He played the accordion, banjo, dobro guitar and a bunch of different stuff that gave it a lot of different textures.”

Tracks like “It’s All About To Change” juxtapose a distorted electric lead with rhythmic acoustic sound and drumming that seems informed by the subtlety of jazz.
Other standouts like “Fire Met a Soul” make the group’s expansive style clear with wispy vocals and laidback strumming seemingly interrupted by a “honky tonk” style interlude that sounds like it could have been written by Hank Williams himself, later returning to the song’s powerful balladry.

While making the album, City Dwelling Nature Seekers embraced their independence as a musical outfit.

“We’re doing it for ourselves,” Booth said. “We don’t have a boss from a record label telling us what to do, so we don’t really have to please anyone but ourselves with our sound. We’re making it how we want to, and if people like it that’s nice, but we’re definitely not trying to please thousands of people just so we can sell thousands of records. We’re making a product that we’re happy and proud of.” - The Pitt News


"City Dwellers' debut"

There aren't many band names as descriptive as City Dwelling Nature Seekers, which formed close to Downtown, at Duquesne University, to pursue music with a pastoral sound, taking a cue from the likes of the Band, Whiskeytown and Neil Young. - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


"City Dwelling Nature Seekers offer a sophisticated take on roots and folk"

Where the Seekers really shine is in expanding their core sound with tasteful additional instrumentation and atmospheric textures, like haunting strings ("Carry a Pack"), brass ("The First Peoples") and lonely Neil Young guitar ("All About to Change"). The overall sense is of a band exploring traditional folk-rock sounds, but unwilling to paint itself into a corner with that palette. Instead, the group offers a broad landscape ripe for both exploration and reverie; as McCormick sings on one song, "Every little thing goes free." - Pittsburgh City Paper


Discography

The Winter Year - LP - August 2012

City Dwelling Nature Seekers - LP - August 2010

CDNS_EP - October 2009

Photos

Bio

There is almost nothing better than stumbling upon something comfortably unpredictable, surprising, and relatable. CITY DWELLING NATURE SEEKERS have remained outside of the maze of mediocrity that swallows so many bands trying to reconcile traditional American musical ideas in a modern frame. Their dual-message moniker evokes familiar imagery that could apply to much of today’s Americana musical droves, but there’s something truly unique about this six-piece band from Pittsburgh, PA that demands attention.

Songwriter Michael McCormick assembled the band in 2008 with drummer/guitarist Chris Parker, mandolinist/vocalist Lee Hintenlang, and bassist Matt Booth. The group learned several of McCormick’s original compositions, which grew out of an infatuation with the work of artists such as Neil Young, Ryan Adams, and the Band. After time and personal discovery between the players, the group’s unique blend of country, bluegrass, indie-rock, and psychedelia evolved into a sound that clearly indicated their connection with the heart, hands, and hips. And people have taken notice -- the band's 2009 EP and 2010 debut full-length album received critical praise and airplay from many prominent outlets inculding NPR stations like WYEP (Pittsburgh) and WXPN (Philadelphia).

The new release The Winter Year continues along the same path musically, but the writing has evolved into something more exploratory, such as the hook-laden opening track “Halfway Home,” or the grandiose string outro on “He Had a Head”. They’ve maintained their ability to perform all of the recording, production and mixing within the band, resulting in a work that does not compromise any of the group’s intentions or ideals. A significant addition to the sound is the presence of pedal steel guitarist Peter Freeman, who’s been playing live with CDNS since 2010. Half of the songs feature his dynamic musicianship, from the warm textures of “Certain Things,” to his sublime lead work on “I Took Lefts”. Another facet of the band’s growth is the emergence of Chris Parker as a co-writer on several tracks. His contribution has added color to the already vibrant musical palette this group offers on The Winter Year.